September 23, 2005


"Broken Promises" has at its root the betrayed vision of an idealistic youth from the Lower East Side. Silver grew up in a modest Jewish neighborhood, and his way to escape his parochial world, where everyone was defined by ethnicity and race, he says, was to go to the U.N. and just wander around. . . .

There are interviews with peacekeepers on the failures of peacekeeping, including Canadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who wrote the famously ignored "genocide memo" months before nearly 1 million Rwandans were killed, in which he begged for reinforcements. Rwandan survivor Eugenie Mukeshimana appears 10 years later with the daughter she gave birth to in a container while hiding from machete-wielding Hutu killers. Former U.N. translator Hasan Nuhanovic describes how U.N. officers in Srebrenica ordered him to tell his family himself that they must leave the U.N. haven to face death by the Serbs.

One of the most stirring comments comes from Kenneth Cain, a civilian peacekeeper who co-wrote a book titled "Emergency Sex" about what Cain views as U.N. betrayals. It is liberals like him who should be most aggrieved, he says, because it is their ideals that have been most harshly sundered.